By Cameron Stubbs
The Youngstown State University softball team took a short trip west to battle against The University of Chicago-Illinois for a three-game series.
The Penguins took two of the three games during the series.
Game one of the doubleheader saw a nearly flawless execution on both sides of the ball.
Fifth-year Elle Buffenbarger led the team to an 8-0 win, pitching a complete game shutout and allowing just five hits to secure the win.
Junior Megan Turner, who led the offense, hit a solo shot in the third inning. Junior Avery Schumacher and senior Grace Cea also contributed to the cause with doubles of their own.
Game two of the day saw the pitchers struggle as freshman Bree Kohler could only go three innings, allowing four earned runs. Her day was not all bad as she was the main factor on offense for the Penguins and knocked two hits for two RBIs.
Ultimately, the Penguins ended up dropping this game 5-4.
Game three was an offensive showdown. The Penguins pulled out of Illinois with a 7-5 victory. Leading the way was junior Conhetta Rinaldi and freshman Taylor Truran as they both hit home runs.
Buffenbarger pitched another complete game and secured her 11th win of the season.
The Penguins returned home Tuesday and split a doubleheader against St. Bonaventure University.
In game one, Kohler struggled on the mound again and gave up four earned runs in 5.1 innings.
The tight 5-4 loss was a good one for Schumacher, as she knocked in all four of the RBIs.
Game two was another one-run game as the Penguins won 3-2
Pitching was outstanding for both teams as sophomore Sophie Howell only gave up one earned run in five innings. Buffenbarger came on in relief for three innings to close out the game and grab another win.
Buffenbarger was named the Nike Horizon League Pitcher of the Week for her 3-0 effort over the week. Her 2.45 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched paved the way for the Penguins.
Sophomore Hailey Niederkohr walked it off with a bases loaded single up the middle to win the game.
Schumacher stayed hot with another RBI, totalling five for the day. She was proud of her individual success for the day but didn’t let that take away from her teammates.
“It just happened to be that I scored those RBIs,” Schumacher stated, “but it could have been anyone else. We’re all a team — we play as a team, we win as a team.”
Head coach Brian Campbell saw the big day for Schumacher as a relief for other parts of the team that were struggling.
“It gives an opportunity for others to see that [Schumacher’s five RBIs] with Hailey lining up behind her today and being able to drive that last run in for us to win it.”
The Penguins head up to Michigan to face Oakland University for a three-game series starting today.
Keep up with live scores and stats on ysusports.com